A proposed rule change by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) could put millions of gun owners at risk of violating the law.
The Washington Free Beacon reports:
The ATF published a notice Thursday that could require millions of AR-15 pistols and similar firearms—which are designed with braces that strap on to a shooter’s forearm—to be either registered, turned in, destroyed, or dismantled. But the standards laid out for determining the devices’ legality, such as caliber or weight, provide no objective measures, and the agency said it may also use undisclosed factors to judge the legality of the devices.
The agency conceded in the notice that some pistol braces are legal and should not be subject to the registration or destruction requirement. It said, however, that it could not provide a blanket determination for which pistols, or braces with which they’re often equipped, are legal and said it would have to examine each gun “on a case-by-case basis.” That means owners of the vast majority of the estimated three to four million AR-15 pistols and similar firearms may have to register with the ATF.
The rule change won’t be officially published until later today. A draft is available here.
Gun rights groups and their allies are already raising fierce opposition.
Second Amendment advocates were up in arms over the proposed rule, saying the uncertain legal status could destroy several businesses that make pistol braces and harm the gun industry. Erich Pratt, senior vice president of Gun Owners of America (GOA), said the subjective nature of the guidance shows that the “ATF has gone off into the deep end.”
“GOA will rally the grassroots to fight these regulations, and if they eventually go into effect, we will commence immediate legal action to protect gun owners,” Pratt said in a statement.